NWSL to hold Challenge Cup in April, start season in May

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FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2017, file photo, then-U.S. Olympic Committee chief marketing officer Lisa Baird speaks about the Team USA WinterFest for the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, at Yongsan Garrison, a U.S. military base in Seoul, South Korea. U.S. Soccer is no longer managing the National Women's Soccer League although some aspects of the partnership remain, NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said. Baird spoke Tuesday, Jan. 12,c2021, on a wide-ranging conference call with reporters ahead of the league's draft on Wednesday night.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

The National Women's Soccer League will hold the preseason Challenge Cup tournament in local markets starting April 9.

The 10-team league, with Racing Louisville joining this season, is set to open its ninth season May 15.

Each team will play 24 games, with six reaching the playoffs. The regular season will end Oct. 30. The schedule for the Challenge Cup and the regular season will be released at a later date but there will be no break for the Olympics.

All teams must adhere to a rigorous pandemic protocols. Players must quarantine for seven days prior to competition and will be tested twice a week. Players or staff with confirmed COVID-19 cases must isolate for a minimum of 10 days.

Players who have medical permission by a team physician to opt out of the season will receive full pay and benefits.

Teams can open training camps next Monday.


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